Abstract: Scale independence is a ubiquitous feature of complex systems that implies a highly skewed distribution of resources with no characteristic scale. Research has long focused on why systems as varied as protein networks, evolution, and stock actions all feature scale independence. Assuming that they simply do, we focus here on describing how this behavior emerges, in contrast to more idealized models usually considered. We arrive at the conjecture that a minimal model to explain the growth toward scale independence involves only two coupled dynamical features: the first is the well-known preferential attachment principle, and the second is a general form of delayed temporal scaling. While the first is sufficient, the second is present in all studied data and appears to maximize the speed of convergence to true scale independence. The delay in this temporal scaling acts as a coupling between population growth and individual activity. Together, these two dynamical properties appear to pave a precise evolution path, such that even an instantaneous snapshot of a distribution is enough to reconstruct the past of the system and predict its future. We validate our approach and confirm its usefulness in diverse spheres of human activities, ranging from scientific and artistic productivity to sexual relations and online traffic.
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Bongard's work focuses on understanding the general nature of cognition, regardless of whether it is found in humans, animals or robots. This unique approach focuses on the role that morphology and evolution plays in cognition. Addressing these questions has taken him into the fields of biology, psychology, engineering and computer science.
Danforth is an applied mathematician interested in modeling a variety of physical, biological, and social phenomenon. He has applied principles of chaos theory to improve weather forecasts as a member of the Mathematics and Climate Research Network, and developed a real-time remote sensor of global happiness using messages from Twitter: the Hedonometer. Danforth co-runs the Computational Story Lab with Peter Dodds, and helps run UVM's reading group on complexity.
Laurent studies the interaction of structure and dynamics. His research involves network theory, statistical physics and nonlinear dynamics along with their applications in epidemiology, ecology, biology, and sociology. Recent projects include comparing complex networks of different nature, the coevolution of human behavior and infectious diseases, understanding the role of forest shape in determining stability of tropical forests, as well as the impact of echo chambers in political discussions.
Hines' work broadly focuses on finding ways to make electric energy more reliable, more affordable, with less environmental impact. Particular topics of interest include understanding the mechanisms by which small problems in the power grid become large blackouts, identifying and mitigating the stresses caused by large amounts of electric vehicle charging, and quantifying the impact of high penetrations of wind/solar on electricity systems.
Bagrow's interests include: Complex Networks (community detection, social modeling and human dynamics, statistical phenomena, graph similarity and isomorphism), Statistical Physics (non-equilibrium methods, phase transitions, percolation, interacting particle systems, spin glasses), and Optimization(glassy techniques such as simulated/quantum annealing, (non-gradient) minimization of noisy objective functions).